We have gathered some facts you really want to be familiar with the new Bachelor Clayton Echard, from his football career to his rapper modify self image.
The Bachelor Season 26:
The Bachelor is back, and this time Clayton Echard will be handing out the roses!
Get to know the 28-year-old former NFL athlete who’s been named the season 26 star of The Bachelor, which premieres Monday, Jan. 3 on ABC.
Echard’s season of The Bachelor follows his romantic run as a former contestant on Michelle Young’s season of The Bachelorette. He formed a genuine connection with the elementary school teacher, but was eliminated in episode 6.
Young’s season ended in an engagement to Nayte Olukoya, and now it’s Echard’s turn to find love as 31 women vie for his heart.
“I’m just a Midwest boy from Missouri that just wants to find my person,” Echard said in the teaser for his season. “I can’t wait to get married… and I believe more than anything that my future wife is here.”
Echard tells PEOPLE that he “followed his heart” but still found himself in uncharted waters during his Bachelor journey. “I promised myself I wouldn’t fall in love in love with multiple women but I fell in love with three,” he says. “At that point I accepted it but I realized I was going to have to stop using absolutes. I handled it to the best of my ability. It wasn’t perfect! I learned a lot of lessons. And that’s life.”
The Bachelor S26 Host:
Jesse Palmer is set to host this season of The Bachelor, after Chris Harrison stepped down in February. Palmer has a lot in common with Echard, as he’s also a former NFL athlete and was named Bachelor in 2004.
Clayton works in medical sales.
Echard attended the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences, and minored in Spanish and business. Currently, he works in orthopedic sales, while simultaneously working on his MBA “with the hopes of starting his own business,” according to Variety.
Clayton briefly played for the Seattle Seahawks.
Echard’s football career began as a walk-on player at the University of Missouri from 2011 to 2015, where he started as a defensive lineman, but moved to tight end. He helped lead the team to securing back-to-back SEC championship games and a national top 10 ranking.
In 2016, he briefly played for the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent. “I practiced daily with the team and played in 4 preseason games,” Echard wrote on his LinkedIn. “I made it past the first round of cuts, however, I was not able to make the final roster. Nonetheless, it was a unique experience that I was blessed to be a part of.”
Clayton is a big family guy.
He also has two younger brothers, Patrick and Nate. Nate is a former football player and Patrick earned a degree in Health Sciences.
Clayton enjoys freestyle rapping.
Not only does Echard enjoy freestyle rapping, he’s a self proclaimed “freestyle champ,” according to his 2019 Instagram post. In fact, he takes it so seriously that he revealed his rapper alter ego, Claydoe, to Us Weekly.
Which contestant is going to get a one-on-one date card for a private concert with Claydoe? We are on the edge of our seats for that one.
Clayton has many hobbies, including collecting quarters.
We also learned from Echard’s Us Weekly interview that not only does he enjoy collecting quarters, but he swallowed one while trying to clean it.
In addition to quarter collecting, he enjoys other hobbies such as snowboarding, hiking, fishing, tubing, and a competitive game of cornhole with family and friends.
Clayton enjoys eating healthy food, but also “believes pizza shouldn’t be eaten without Ranch.”
Quarters aren’t the only things Echard eats. He shared in an Instagram post everything he eats in a week, which consists of “homemade chipotle bowls for lunch and dinner and egg sandwiches with a protein bar, banana, and protein shake for breakfast.”
He also shared in his LinkedIn bio that he’s in the “process of learning to cook healthy meals that also surprisingly have flavor!” As a former athlete with a highly active lifestyle, he allows himself to splurge too, telling Us Weekly “I believe pizza should not be eaten without ranch,” and “I love Chipotle and could honestly eat it daily.”